This easy pancake recipe with only 5 ingredients is simple to put together and comes out light and fluffy. Add in your favorites like blueberries, chocolate chips, or cinnamon to create endless flavors!

Pancakes stacked on a plate with syrup being poured on

Overview

To make good old-fashioned pancakes from scratch you really only need 5 ingredients! The process is very quick and easy with minimal equipment.

Note: If you don’t have any baking powde, try my pancake recipe without baking powder!

How to Make Pancakes from Scratch

Step 1: Combine Dry Ingredients

Dry ingredients whisked in a bowl

In a large mixing bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients until they are well combined.

Step 2: Combine Wet Ingredients

In a small mixing bowl or measuring cup, whisk together all dry ingredients.

Step 3: Combine Wet & Dry Ingredients

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined using a spatula.

Step 4: Cook the Pancakes

Pour 1/4 cup of batter into your preheated skillet and cook until you see lots of little bubbles on the top and sides. Flip over and cook until the underside is golden.

Ingredient Functions in Pancakes

  • Flour: Flour is the structure for your pancakes. Choose whatever flour you like or have on hand. All-purpose, Bread flour, Cake Flour, Self-Rising, or Wheat Flour. A gluten free all-purpose mix works too. Different flours will give you slightly different textures with your cakes.
    • Cake Flour: The recipe is going to call for 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour however, if you are going to use cake flour increase the amount to 144 grams (1 1/4 cups).
    • Wheat Flour: If you are going to use wheat flour, decrease the amount to 105 grams (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons). 
    • Self-Rising Flour: If you use self-rising flour omit the baking powder in the recipe because self-rising flour already has baking powder and salt mixed in. 
    • Gluten Free Flour: you can substitute the same amount of gluten free flour as the recipe calls for all-purpose flour.
  • Baking Powder: This is what gives you light and fluffy cakes! Baking powder is the leavening agent that creates lightness. You can see this in the little bubbles in your pancakes as they cook.
  • Egg: An egg is what binds the batter and also adds moisture. You can easily substitute the egg with flax egg, chia egg, or applesauce for vegan options.
  • Milk: Buttermilk is preferred but really any milk will do. The milk in this recipe is mostly for moisture and buttermilk will add a bit of a tang and a richer flavor.
    • If you do not have buttermilk, you can make “sour milk” but adding one tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk and letting it sit for about 5 minutes. You can do this with non-dairy milk too. If you only have milk and no vinegar, you are still fine. I have made pancakes with plain milk many times.
  • Oil or Melted Butter: This liquid fat adds moisture and richness.

That’s it! Okay, I know what you’re thinking. What about sugar? That is your call. In my opinion, if I am going to be slathering these things with syrup or fruit I don’t need any sugar. BUT, by all means go ahead and add some if your heart desires. In a pancake recipe, sugar only serves to sweeten the batter so you can really add any sugar or sugar substitute you have on hand.

Adding a pinch of salt can help balance out the sweetness in your pancakes but again, is optional.

Flavoring your Pancakes

The beauty of this perfect base recipe is that you can customize it however you wish!

There are so many options: strawberry, chocolate chip, cinnamon, blueberry lemon, or maybe funfetti pancakes are your jam. The secret is to know how much you can add of each type. 

  • Spices (use up to 1 teaspoon total of combined spices, if desired)
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon clove
  • Extracts, Juices, and Zests (use 1-2 of these, if desired)
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1/2 tablespoon lemon or orange juice + 1/2 tablespoon lemon or orange zest
  • Solid Mix-Ins (use up to 1/2 cup total of solid mix-ins, if desired)
    • chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (mini chips, milk, dark, or white chocolate)
    • chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds)
    • fresh or frozen fruits (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, or cherries)
    • sprinkles

Can I make the batter ahead of time?

Making your pancake batter ahead of time is a great timesaver on busy mornings or relaxing weekends!

You can make your batter without the baking powder and store it in the fridge in a covered container or topped with plastic wrap for 1-2 days. Baking powder activates as soon as it is hydrated so it’s best to add it right before you make them.

About 10 minutes before cooking the pancakes, take the batter out of the refrigerator and whisk in the baking powder.

Pancakes stacked on a plate with syrup being poured on
Yield: 6-8, 4" Pancakes

5 Ingredient Classic Pancakes

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

This is an easy pancake recipe that only takes 5 ingredients to make! These basic pancakes are simple to make and come out light and fluffy any time. Add blueberries, chocolate chips, cinnamon, or any of your favorite flavors!

Ingredients

  • 120 grams (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar (optional)
  • 240 grams (1 cup, 240 ml) buttermilk (or soured milk- see post for details on this)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
  • large pinch salt (optional, but recommended)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl whisk together flour (120 grams, 1 cup), baking powder (2 teaspoons), sugar (50 grams, 1/4 cup) if using, and salt (1 large pinch) if using.
  2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, lightly whisk together the buttermilk (240 grams, 1 cup), egg (1 large), and oil or melted butter (2 tablespoons).
  3. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula just until combined (batter will be lumpy, do not over mix). Let the batter sit while heating up a griddle or skillet over medium heat.
  4. Grease the griddle or skillet and pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake. Once bubbles are formed on top and along the edges, flip the cake once to finish cooking on the other side. They will take about 2-3 minutes per side. Serve hot with butter and real maple syrup.

Notes

Flavor Variations Ideas:

  • Vanilla Chocolate Chip: Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to the wet ingredients. After the batter has been fully mixed, gently fold in a 1/2 cup mini or regular sized chocolate chips.
  • Blueberry Lemon: Add 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest to the wet ingredients. After the batter has been fully mixed, gently fold in a 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries. (if you prefer, you can arrange the blueberries directly onto the pancake while it is cooking in the pan).
  • Funfetti: Add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract to the wet ingredients After the batter has been fully mixed, gently fold in 1/2 cup of sprinkles.
  • Cinnamon Nut: Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the dry ingredients. After the batter has been fully mixed, gently fold in 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Make Ahead Notes:

You can make your batter without the baking powder and store it in the fridge in a covered container or topped with plastic wrap for 1-2 days. Baking powder activates as soon as it is hydrated so it's best to add it right before you make them. About 10 minutes before cooking the pancakes, take the batter out of the refrigerator and whisk in the baking powder.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.